Homily for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
Theme: The Light of God
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday January 5 2020
God is always making Himself known to His creatures! Even when we disfigure the beauty and glory of the garment of honour and nobility He placed on us, He never stops asking us; where are you? He comes towards us never to diminish us in anyway but to make Himself more and more known to us and to make us glow the more. Just like the Light He is, He comes to warm-up our faith, to heat-up our hope and to make fiery our love for Him and for our brothers and sisters. In Christ Jesus, the light of God shines constantly into all of our physical and spiritual faculties to make us whole and to lead us into a deeper relationship with God. May the light of Christ shine in your life; Amen.
Today is the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. The word Epiphany is from the Greek word _epiphaneia_ which means manifestation or a striking appearance. The Solemnity of Epiphany is also known as _Theophany_ which literally means the appearance of God. The Solemnity of today brings us to celebrate the Light God has shined upon all men and women for all ages to come; His definite self-manifestation and appearance in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the words of the First Reading (Is 60:1-6), “Above you the Lord now rises and above you his glory appears. The nations come to your light and kings to your dawning brightness.” This Light is Jesus the Christ, “Light from Light and true God from true God” and in His light we see light (Ps 36:9). The Child that is born to us makes the glory of God shine upon us in its irresistible radiance. This was the same light that illumined the path of the three wise men from the East to Bethlehem by means of a star in the Gospel Reading (Mt 2:1-12).
To see the light of God one must be pure of heart. It was the heinous intentions of king Herod and of some of his subjects that blocked them from seeing the Light of Christ. Whereas in his heart Herod wished the child destruction and death, the three wise men brought him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh; three gifts that foretell the fate of the Infant King – gold for his kingship, frankincense for his priestly identity and myrrh for his subsequent death and burial. To see the light of Christ, we must cleanse our minds and hearts of all ill thoughts and demonic wishes and must learn to appreciate the manifestation of the light of God in our brothers and sisters. Every gift or virtue or honour that we can trace in others is a concrete and palpable manifestation of the Light of Christ. To stand against such gifts or virtues or honour is to stand against God. Such an attitude leads to self-destruction or the destruction of others. This was the case with Herod. On the contrary, when we appreciate the light of God in others, in whichever way it manifests, we not only glorify God for His blessings, we also ignite in us more brilliant rays of the light of Christ. This was the fact about the three wise men. In fact, in this was manifested their wisdom. This is also true about us! When we dismiss darkness and embrace the light, when we appreciate the values in others and promote their blossoming and growth and when we help others to discover the light of God in them, we discover that we are of the same stalk and that it is the same God and the same Christ and the same Spirit that are at work in us and that we share the same heritage and that we have a common Father Who sent us His Eternal Light in the person of His Son Jesus Christ and guides us by the power of the Holy Spirit to follow the Light of Christ and “that the same promise has been made to us in Jesus Christ through the gospel” (Eph 3:2-3, 5-6). When we focus on the Light of Christ, we become illumined and we are saved!
May the Light of Christ drive far away from us every form of darkness and opposition to the Light and lead us to offer to the Infant King of Bethlehem “our souls as our gold, our spirits as our frankincense and our bodies as our myrrh” Amen. Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE